Saturday, February 20, 2016

Travel to Dajabon

February 20, 2016

Wow this week was a long one! We went to the furthest part of our mission called Dajabon. It is the border of the country and Haiti and the most hot place in the mission. We had to go up there to move the missionaries to a different house and close the one they were in. That is usually a pretty simple process, but this was the hardest, most complicated process ever! The owner of the house was a bit crazy and was basically flipping out the whole time about every little thing and that we needed to pay her all this money and all this stuff. But luckily my companion is good at his job and we have contracts that tell us exactly what we have to do when we close a house. I wont give details to everything, but basically we ended up staying up there for 3 days because we were all over the place up there trying to do the repairs to the house and do everything we had to do for the new one. It was kind of a nightmare, but we always manage to have fun and make the most of everything even when it's hard. We thought we would only be up there for a day and a half, so by day three we were pretty ready to get home! Haha. We only had one pair of other clothes to change into and one pair of regular missionary clothes. The new house still didn't have any water, or electricity so we had to shower in the old house and eat from the little stores in the town. We usually get mission money every 15th day of the month, but for some reason it came two days late this month so pretty much everyone in the mission called me asking why. I had no idea either, so we all suffered together and humbled ourselves haha. We were so broke and hours away from home, without clean clothes to change into, in the hottest area of the mission without ability to use fans to cool us. Haha, it was so awesome. And I say that because that is what being in a third world country is about. That is how you learn to make the most of everything. That is when you gain so much more appreciation for the people and for what you have been given in your life. I loved it so much despite how terrible it really was haha! It was a fun little experience for sure, and we got to meet a lot of super cool people up there. We somehow ended up meeting all sorts of different people and a lot of them offered to help us and gave us advice on where to go to find the things we needed up there and it was just so cool because the people are just so willing to help out any stranger and it was like we were best friends or family by the end of every conversation! I love that.
So last week I received a letter from one of the people I baptized. I didn't end up reading it until two days later, on Sunday. Right when I read it, I felt super bad for not reading it earlier because it was basically a letter telling me she was struggling and asked for advice and what to do. I called her right away and it was a really cool conversation because by the time we were ending the conversation, she knew exactly what she had to/needs to do. I felt the spirit pretty strong and I was thankful that she trusted me enough to tell me and ask advice. Its super cool when you teach people as a missionary because you develop such a greater trust and understanding of the people than if you were just a simple friend or something. Because as missionaries we go way further than just being friends and talking like friends, but we provide a way to make changes for the better in their lives, offer a way to live the gospel and become happy and resolve conflicts and problems in their lives. There really is nothing else like teaching and testifying of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our investigator, Carlos, the one we had to take to the hospital a few weeks back for being way drunk, got hit by a car on Sunday! He has been progressing and doing way better since the whole scare a few weeks back. But on Sunday night he was walking and talking on the phone and some car somehow hit him and then took off and he broke his leg pretty bad and has been in the hospital ever since. He called me on Tuesday morning to tell me and I felt way bad because we were way up in Dajabon. But we got to go visit him the other night and he seems to be doing okay. But he won't be able to walk for a while and he is the only one in his family who works. So pray for him!
Okay well I have lots more to say, but no time to write, so maybe next week. But I love you all and please pray for Carlos. I will also be transferred in a couple weeks (18 days to be exact) and I would love if you guys could pray for me to be sent to the area where the people are prepared for the gospel and for me to find them and where I will grow the most! Thanks.

Elder Greer

Me and Elder Reeves passed out cold as we waited here for the owner of the old house in Dajabón to stop freaking out at every little thing. We were so exhausted going back and forth on foot throughout the town doing a bunch of different diligences.
Us with our investigator Rafaelito
Me wrestling with this little punk who is like my little brother, Randy. He thought he could take me, but I showed him who's daddy hahaha. Reminded me of the times I wrestled with the missionaries when I was younger.
Elder Reeves, Gonzalez and I eating ice cream
Loading up the truck doing a house move
Elder Gonzalez and I on the long trip to Puerto Plata a few weeks back
All of us a few weeks back when we went to Puerta Plata to do a house move for the sisters and Elder Castillo helped us because he is the district leader in that area.

Long story on this one... but basically we had a water war and I got drenched! Every Friday I go to all the zone leaders houses in the night to drop off mail. Well, they waited for me and surprised me with water balloons! So I ran into their house and soaked their beds, blankets, and pillows. Good luck sleeping now!! Hahaha. It was a good time. Every Friday we are always at war with them! We'll see who gets wet next week! Elders Bartholomew and Tucker, the homies.

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 13, 2016

Not a super exciting/eventful week this week, but we had a few of our investigators and less actives in church. Including Maria, Carlos's wife. She came with her daughter that is 3 and can't walk. Carlos was supposed to come too, but something came up and he couldn't come. But we are expecting them to both come tomorrow! So pray that they do! I really love them a lot. They are super humble people and are really willing to accept the gospel I think. We have already seen a change in them so I am just praying they stay strong and have the faith they need to keep progressing towards baptism. We will put a date for them tonight when we go back and teach them!
Training Elder Reeves in my position is going really well. We are great pals! We are loving talking track with each other and are staying strong running in the mornings!
Today we are going to Los Cocos because the old mission leader of me and Elder Gonzalez wants us to go help them with a thing called a "Cosecha" which is basically when the whole ward gets together and goes and talks to everyone and try to find people interested in the gospel or who need our help. So it should be fun and a cool experience.
Next week we will be super busy and have to travel to the area farthest away in the mission called Dajabon. We will also be going to a couple other areas/zones on the way so I will end up going to 3 of the 4 places in my whole mission that I have never been to. So that'll be pretty cool. 
Exciting news on Teobaldo, we went to his house the other day and he has gotten so much better! Before, he was hardly able to walk, but he basically floated to the door to greet us! So we are expecting him to start progressing again a ton like he was before. He said he can't come to church this Sunday, but that next Sunday he would come. So pray for him as well!
So we have to stop teaching Jacob because everyone we come in contact with in that area tells us that it is dangerous to talk with him and that he is not actually meeting with us because he is interested. A couple of people in that area have told us they will be angry with us if we keep talking with him. I don't really see a problem with him but apparently he is bad news and is a drug dealer, but who am I or anyone to judge? So we kept teaching him a bit, but he isn't progressing so we have stopped.
Shout out to Kaylie Maingot, my super awesome cousin for choosing the best choice in the world and going on a mission! Good luck on your farewell this Sunday! You're gonna kill it in Portugal!
Happy Valentine's day! I hope you all have a more romantic day than mine will be ;) hahaha.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Tough Week!

On Saturday, February 6, 2016

I am going to be super honest and say that this past week was one of the more harder weeks of my mission. I have definitely been blessed with not having many bad days or weeks in my mission, but this week was difficult. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I am not the biggest fan of comp changes when I am with a super dope comp like Elder Castillo was. And so after 7 and a half months being with the same companion, the change has been weird and quite a bit different. But that's just part of the mission, plus I have learned to love my new companions too and although its a lot different, we are doing well together. But this week was mostly challenging because I just felt super stressed. I don't know why exactly, but man, I was just not myself this week. We have been super busy, I had a real lack of patience, I wasn't sleeping well, waking up at 4 or 5am and not going back to sleep because just a ton of thoughts started flooding my mind, aggravated (which is very abnormal for me I think) and more. I wasn't able to concentrate in my studies very well. Honestly, just kinda unhappy and annoyed. Still don't know exactly why, maybe because I have had a lot on my plate and a couple things didn't go as planned or how I needed them to and what not. But that's all a part of life right? I have definitely been blessed for not feeling this way much. But I think a big part of it too is how we react to pressure, to stress, to things that come our way. What it came down to after many prayers of simply asking for help and love and patience and forgiveness for letting myself feel that way, what it came down to was me deciding to be happy. Me deciding to just love, to have patience, to count my blessings. I remember on Thursday while driving, something happened and I was about to just be so annoyed or react super negatively. But then I just smiled and laughed and told myself that it is a lot easier and better to take the bad that is thrown my way and choose to deal with it in a positive way and not let it affect my thoughts or actions or emotions. I think a lot of times Satan just wants us to feel so overwhelmed that we overlook being happy or not letting small things be big deals and what not. I know this email is way cheesy/lame but idk, I am just super thankful for the comfort of the gospel and having bad days/weeks but then learning so much from them.
Anyway so on Tuesday we had to go up to Puerto Plata about an hour North to move some sisters who had to be moved quickly because of something that happened that was causing them danger walking home. Elder Castillo happens to be their district leader so he helped us with the move and was able to help/train Elder Gonzalez a bit more with the contracts and the process of closing a house and all that fun stuff. Plus it was way fun being with him after 6 days of being apart, hahaha. Six days was like a lifetime! haha We already had so much to tell each other about. He is loving it out there where he is and he was telling me how he really has to work on his English now because there are so many American tourists out there. He lives like 2 streets from the beach so he comes into contact with quite a few tourists. That makes his area a little hard though.
Training Elder Reeves is going way good. I am testing him a bunch so I leave him knowing everything possible!
On Thursday, it was so cool, I had a meeting with President and two representatives of our phone company. Me and President Castillo were totally comps for the morning haha. I felt so sophysticated hahahaha (even though I totally spelled that wrong.) I was able to answer lots of questions of President's and the two representatives helped us out a ton to understand how we can save more money with the phone plan we have for our mission which is super great and I am way excited about. The meeting helped a ton and like I said, I felt way grown up and cool, hahaha. One of the representatives asked if I was the President before President Castillo!! Haha. She must have been very confused or something. We all laughed and I was like, "Noooo!" And President was like, "One day he will be, one day! Hahaha" I really hope he wasn't receiving revelation and he was just joking ;) They also asked me how much time I had in the position I am in and I said 7 and a half months and President was like, "No... You only have 6 months.." I was like "Ahhh, no President, I have the same time in the office as you in the mission..." And he was like, "No.. That can't be!" But it totally is. So maybe that's why I am still here haha, because he has just forgotten to transfer me these past 6 transfers ;) haha. Just kidding. (But really)
Afterwards, President and I were able to talk a bunch and we explained a bunch of important information to each other and it was cool because we joked around a bunch with each other too. We're solid pals ;)
All right well tough week turned into a good one. Remember to have a good attitude and slap yourself in the face like me if you're ever feeling down/bad for yourself!
Just kidding, In all seriousness, turn to the Lord. D&C 6:36-37 Credit to Dexton Graves for helping me remember this scripture. 
Have a super sick week! Bring someone to Christ. It's the best.
Oh, shoot, before I forget. Carlos is doing good again. We taught the Word of Wisdom and he is way down to follow it so we are stoked on life for that, especially because I never want to walk into my investigator's house again and think he is dead and have to carry him down a sketchy alleyway to the car and drive him to the ER. :D Pray for him and his wife to come to church tomorrow!!


January 30, 2016

On Wednesday I received Elder Reeves to start training here in my spot in the office. I called him on Monday night and told him. He seemed way excited! He is from Washington but he lived in California for his senior year. He is all about track which I love. But he's a thrower, haha, so a little bit different than my track. He is on scholarship to UVU after the mission to throw for them. He actually met Savanna once while up there on his official visit!! So they will totally throw together and be way tight. I am already in process of setting them up! ;) Hahaha. He took 8th in state in California!! So he is serious. And he came on the mission with 315 pounds, and in a year on his mission he has lost 100 pounds!!! Crazy! And he is gonna continue to lose because he wants to run with me and committed to run with me every morning which is a huge blessing because my other companion, Elder Gonzalez has quit on me! >:(
So on Wednesday Elder Castillo left and got transferred to Puerto Plata to be a "Step Dad" (Second companion) to his new companion. He also has to finish training his new companion because his new companion's old comp had problems with him, so President took him out and put Elder Castillo in to finish his training. He is also now a District Leader. He was so excited about his new calling. He left so pumped up and ready to go. I am really happy for him. I am way sad he is gone though. We were together for 7 and a half months! That has never before happened with any other companionship before. SO much time together haha. So you could say we are (he left out the word here, I'm assuming maybe tight or close?-Susie) He is my best friend and literal brother and we know literally everything there is to know about each other. From the flaws to the perfectness ;) haha. But it is a good change for us and it is one step closer to being outta here (the office) haha. But it really has been great here.
Elder Castillo called me his second day being in his new area and was so pumped to tell me he is loving it and having the greatest time and had an amazing lesson with the spirit so strong and he set a baptism date! I was so pumped for him!
So the start of this week Elder Castillo said goodbye to everyone and prepared to leave. After being here in this same area for a year and 2 months (his whole mission) Elder Castillo had lots of people to say goodbye to. He was first a regular missionary in this ward and in Pueblo Nuevo which is our area and ward too. Then he got called to the office as an office elder after 7 and a half months in his first area. So since he was already in the same ward and the bordering area as the office elders, he pretty much never left his whole mission and has pretty much only had one area his whole mission. But he has loved it and made the most of everything. But he was stoked to be in a new area and new ward and everything. Stress free and all haha.
So quick, crazy experience: So on Thursday, we went to go have a lesson with one of our progressing family investigators. When I knocked on their door, the wife opened it super panicked and said " I am so happy you are here, I think my husband is going to die! We have to get him to the hospital!" So we ran in and Carlos, her husband, was laying lifeless on the bed. Elder Gonzalez was slapping him and shaking him and yelling his name, but he was completely lifeless. I checked for a pulse but I didn't feel anything at all. I legit thought he was dead. His 3-year-old daughter was sitting by him yelling his name. We hurried and tried to lift him up, I felt him move a little and then he started breathing again. But had no strength. We carried him out to the car and called our President to tell him we were going to take him to the hospital because it was urgent. We flew to the hospital and he started moving again and he ended up throwing up in the truck a couple times. We got to the ER and they did the rest. Oh, we also gave him a blessing. The doctors, after like 30 minutes, told us he was just completely drunk and his body couldn't handle all the alcohol. He really probably needed to get his stomach pumped, but we don't have that technology here. But he ended up being okay and we went and visited him yesterday to see how he was doing. Man, it was scary. I thought for sure he was dead. And he probably would have died if we hadn't gotten him up and moving. Pretty Crazy. So I am way thankful for and have a big testimony in planning every night for the next day because we often get inspired to go to certain places or do certain things. Something told us to go there at that exact time. Pretty cool how that works.
Well, I always have lots to say but such little time, we are off to a baptism, so gotta get going! I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Greer

PS: Shout out to Paige Reilly for having her baby! I think 5 years ago we would all be pretty scared for the baby! ;) hahaha. Just kidding, best of luck to ya! Love you.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

This week we took advantage of our trio and ability to do splits so that my companions could go close, move, and open houses while I stayed in Santiago with another elder and took care of all my duties. So we got a ton done that we really needed. Elder Castillo was able to teach/train Elder Gonzalez really well this past week so that was good.
On the way back from doing a bunch of things in an area with the beach in it, Elder Gonzalez wanted to go pass by real quick and take a look. But I had to be really clear with him that we once were able to visit certain beaches here, but not anymore because the area presidency feels it's better that we don't, even if there is no one there. He also wanted to visit an old area and do a Family Home Evening at a members house there, but again I had to put my foot down and be clear that we have to be as much of regular missionaries as we can be. It doesn't matter that we have a car or that we are constantly in different areas of the mission. Our purpose is to complete and fulfill our calling and duties and then get back to our area and be regular missionaries. So I just had to explain to him for a while that we have to be humble. We cannot take advantage of our position as the office elders in the mission. Especially because everyone is looking at us and our example. So if we mess up or do something dumb or don't obey the rules with exactness, the other missionaries are going to think it's okay to do the same. He was bummed at first because he kinda pictured being an office elder and a leader in the mission as more freedom and getting to do cool stuff all the time. But in reality, we are the same as everyone else, just with more responsibility. He understood after a while and I am thankful because I think he gets it now and is willing to comply and be obedient and not take advantage.
We set a baptism date this week! Right now it is for the 20th of next month. It's the wife of an inactive we are working with. We are also really working with their son and his wife who are not legally married but progressing a lot. We just have to get them to church so they can see how awesome it is and knock some sense into them that they need to be married and baptized dang it! Haha. 
We had a devotional for all missionaries on Wednesday. We heard from a couple of the Apostles and one of the Seventy and the Relief Society General President. It was all in Spanish for us so I felt bad for the new missionaries. The general topic and thing the speakers focused on for me, was the importance of the spirit. They all talked a lot about how important it is for all of us to have the spirit and listen to its promptings. I think that is very true and in our trio, we can definitely work on having the spirit a lot stronger and always with us.
While playing basketball at the church, Elder Gonzalez and I saw two women walking with a big Styrofoam wall basically and so we ran over and helped them. We carried it for them and ended up walking like three blocks to their house. The whole way we talked to them and told them who we were. They were so thankful for us and thanked us and said we were welcome to go to their house any day! It's the area of the other elders in the ward though unfortunately, but they will be a solid reference! When we said goodbye after taking it to their house, one of the ladies said, "you were sent from God! Thanks so much!" I thought that was way cool and that's why I love serving others and helping others at all times in all places.
I challenge you all to look for opportunities to serve others and go out of our way to do so! It is rewarding for them and you!

Pictures of Bonao

January 16, 2016

All these pics I meant to send way back a couple weeks ago when we went to the waterfalls in Bonao.  I got a bad blood blister, but that was mostly because of running in the mornings. 


  Using my new selfie stick!

 The guy jumping in the water is a member who too us up there. (We aren't allowed to go in the water.)


 The broken fruit that looks like a shell of a dinosaur egg is the fruit that you make chocolate out of!  Super cool and tastes super good and it's way weird that that's where chocolate comes from!